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Help me with a sentence in French

My high-school French is failing me! Can someone please tell me how to say, "May I have change [coins] for the ticket machine, please?"

Posted by
120 posts

Puis-je avoir de la monnaie pour le distributeur (ou pour la machine, if it is too difficult to say) s'il vous plait?
Coco from France :-)

Posted by
872 posts

Thanks, Coco. (Google translate doesn't always work too well. For example, "mai" means "the month of May.")

Posted by
8293 posts

"Change s'il vous plait ,usually works great" says Steve. Wow ! That sure doesn't work in Quebec so I don't see how it could work in France. The French word "change" has absolutely nothing to do with money or coins. Coco has the correct phrase, so pay attention to her.

Posted by
11450 posts

Um, Norma,, steve is right,, it does work,, it may not be correct,,but it is fast and easy to remember, and you will get your change..

Posted by
446 posts

"Um, Norma,, steve is right,, it does work,, it may not be correct,,but it is fast and easy to remember, and you will get your change.."

Just be sure you pronounce it right -- CHAnge, not the English CHAYnge -- such as in the sentence:

Pouvez-vous me changer un billet pour le distributeur?"

Posted by
8293 posts

Yes, Tyler, you are right, when you use the word as a verb and not a noun, and you pronounce it properly, it will serve the purpose. I hadn't thought of that. I am left to wonder how Steve pronounces it.

Posted by
8185 posts

Coco, Is it also correct to say Puis j'avoir in place of Puis je avoir?

Posted by
120 posts

If you want to use the word "change" in French like in "le change est défavorable pour les Américains", it means the exchange rate is not in favour of the Americans because of the low dollar.
Then you have to ask for monnaie, not change if you want coins. Even "petite monnaie" for small coins. Voilà! Hope this helps, I gave you my 2 cents (petite monnaie then!) :-))

Posted by
120 posts

C'est bien! just add "de la". Puis-je avoir de la petite monnaie? (fem noun) I know French is hard! :-)

Posted by
446 posts

Coco is right. Change in French means money exchange, not change like coins. That's monnaie.

I still think that if you say, as Rick suggests, "change, s'il vous plait," you should pronounce it CHAAnge and not CHAYnge. There are some English words that are used in French directly -- such as the sport tennis -- but change isn't one of them. It comes from the Latin cambium.

If you read some French, this is a great online dictionary:

http://atilf.atilf.fr/tlf.htm

Posted by
4555 posts

Susan...yes. Anytime you put "je" together with a word that begins with a vowel, like "avoir," you chop off the E and use the contraction. J'allais, j'écoute, j'obéis...etc.

Posted by
8185 posts

Norm, that's what I've always known to be true so when I saw "puis je avoir" I thought I'd ask the question. Thanks Norm, I appreciate your response.

Posted by
4555 posts

Just to clarify, you use the "j'" contraction even with words that SOUND like they start with a vowel, like "j'habite."

Posted by
446 posts

"I'm curious about "Puis-je." I was taught in high school (granted, this was 20+ years ago) that "puis-je" was considered too informal, and that one should use the "Est-ce que je puis" construction. Is that outdated thinking?"

Puis-je may be acceptable these days, but I don't think adding a little extra formality in situations where you don't know the person can ever really be a mistake.

Romance languages, in general, tend to be more formal in style than English. And, we Americans are very informal.

Posted by
120 posts

Although Norm is right about contraction with J, it does not apply to questions! You may not write "puis j'avoir?" then. It seems the block verb+pronoun cannot be changed (don't ask me why!) However you won't hear any difference.
If you want to hear "change" in French try
http://www.research.att.com/~ttsweb/tts/demo.php and choose Alain or Juliette.
Also try "puis-je avoir de la monnaie s'il vous plait?" with Juliette to have it right.
Didn't I tell you that French is difficult? ;-)

Posted by
872 posts

Although I fully intend to go with Coco's advice, I'm curious about "Puis-je." I was taught in high school (granted, this was 20+ years ago) that "puis-je" was considered too informal, and that one should use the "Est-ce que je puis" construction. Is that outdated thinking?

Posted by
8293 posts

Teresa, it should be "Est-ce que je peux ...." not "puis".

Posted by
120 posts

""puis-je" was considered too informal, and that one should use the "Est-ce que je puis" construction. Is that outdated thinking?" How funny Teresa, we think it is the contrary!
"Puis-je" is rarely used if you are with friends or family (unless they are very highbred) but you'll use it to ask your way (puis-je vous demander où se trouve l'Arc de Triomphe?) or at the restaurant (Puis-je avoir une autre coupe de Champagne s'il vous plait?)

"Est-ce que je peux" is more informal but can be used in any circumstances. "Est-ce que je peux vous demander l'heure?"
"Est-ce que je puis (vous inviter à danser for ex)?" is more rarely used, quite old fashioned but more elegant. You can hear it in movies with costumes and long dresses :-)

Posted by
446 posts

Coco,

Could you explain a little better the difference between puis and peux? They are both the first person present tense of pouvoir, but is there any rule as to when to use one or the other?